Wednesday 26 October 2016

I'm still a proud nerd, admits Pegg

Published 20/05/2015 | 10:41

Actor Simon Pegg criticised the 'dumbing down' of cinema
Actor Simon Pegg criticised the 'dumbing down' of cinema

Film star Simon Pegg has insisted "I am still a nerd and proud" after he raised eyebrows by saying that an obsession with comic books and superheroes had led to the "dumbing down" of cinema.

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The 45-year-old has a reputation as a poster boy for geeks and made his name in a string of comedy films such as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz.

But the actor, who is co-writing the new Star Trek movie, told Radio Times magazine that he wanted to "retire from geekdom" and that society had become "infantalised".

Now he has admitted on his blog that his "dumbing down comment came off as a huge generalisation by an A-grade asshorn".

He said: "Maybe I was being a little bit trollish, I can be a bit of a Contrary Mary in interviews sometimes... Having said that, the idea of our prolonged youth is something I've been interested in for a very long time."

Pegg added: "I did not mean that science fiction or fantasy are dumb, far from it. How could I say that? In the words of Han Solo 'Hey, it's me!'"

The star wrote: "I guess what I meant was, the more spectacle becomes the driving creative priority, the less thoughtful or challenging the films can become.

"I'm not out of the fold, my passions and preoccupations remain. Sometimes it's good to look at the state of the union and make sure we're getting the best we can get."

Pegg had told Radio Times magazine: "Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie And Clyde and The French Connection - gritty, amoral art movies.

"Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed ... I don't know if that is a good thing."

The star, who played chief engineer Scotty in the recent Star Trek films, added: "Obviously I'm very much a self-confessed fan of science fiction and genre cinema but part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we've been infantilised by our own taste.

"Now we're essentially all consuming very childish things - comic books, superheroes. Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously.

"It is a kind of dumbing down, in a way, because it's taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about ... whatever.

"Now we're walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot."

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